If you hate games that take donkey's years to learn you're gonna love Batik. That's because the concept behind this ridiculously compelling two-player game takes about ten seconds to grasp. Basically, two players take turns dropping irregular wooden shapes into a transparent upright board. The idea is to force your opponent to play a piece that sticks out above the top edge of the game board. And that's about it. Simple, eh?
But before you scoff at Batik's nursery-like gameplay it's worth mentioning that this extremely novel plaything has won several prestigious gaming awards around the globe. In fact we're thinking of awarding it a special Firebox gong for its outstanding contribution to plummeting productivity, because we've all gone Batik bananas.
Batik's one-more-go factor is virtually off the scale. And once you go head-to-head slotting shapes you'll understand why. The pesky pieces often slip into unexpected positions, particularly when the board gets crowded. That's why you have to plan ahead. Imagine Connect Four crossed with lopsided Tetris and that puzzle game off The Krypton Factor (youngsters, ask your parents) and you're almost there.
Batik matchplay introduces an additional element of strategy as you must force your opponent to run out of pieces. This is achieved by removing the piece left sticking out at the end of each game. The match ends when one of you is unable to continue the current game.
Batik is a great game to crack out at parties as you won't have to waste time explaining the rules to divvy guests. And unlike many newfangled games it won't end up collecting dust in the cupboard marked 'Couldn't work out how to play it'. Best of all it's one of those games that feels like a classic the minute you start playing. So what are you waiting for? Get shape-shifting with Batik, and make it sharpish!